Getting off the planet isn't an easy, breezy ride. The European Space Agency released a full liftoff-to-orbit video giving a rare peek inside a Soyuz spacecraft as three astronauts made the journey toward the International Space Station.
The footage comes from the June 6 Soyuz MS-09 launch and includes NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor, cosmonaut Sergei Prokopyev and ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst. The travelers wear spacesuits and are packed in like sardines. Their bodies are subjected to forces up to four times the gravity of Earth.
The video lasts about 10 minutes and has annotations and commentary to help you follow along at each stage of the flight. The astronauts' reactions are telling. Both Auñón-Chancellor and Gerst celebrate like excited kids at the moment of liftoff. Prokopyev gives a thumbs-up.
Prokopyev wields a telescoping stick to operate buttons since they're too far away and he can't lean forward from his seat.
You'll also notice a couple of small stuffed animals dangling above the spacefarers. One is the mascot for thebeing held in Russia. The other is Die Maus, the star of a German children's television show. The mouse is dressed like a tiny astronaut. When the toys start floating, the crew knows they've reached the microgravity environment of space.
The video includes some first ever footage recorded from outside the spacecraft by cameras attached to the exterior. It gives an atmospheric look backward at Earth's clouds.
As frightening as it sounds to be shot off the planet in a can the size of a car, the astronauts have plenty of smiles. But the best reaction is saved for last. Be sure to keep an eye on the crew during the third-stage engine cut off that signals the arrival in orbit.
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